Faculty Senate Meeting
September 16, 2015
Founder’s Room of Lovett Hall
Senate Meeting Agenda (and actions taken):
I. Call to Order and Welcome
III. Reports from Officers and Standing Committees
Election of Executive Committee (Slate Approved)
IV. New Business
A. Endorsement of three Executive Committee Actions (Endorsed)
B. Approval of Academic Calendar, 2017-2018 (Approved)
C. Suggested New Agenda Items, 2015-2016
Senators present: David Alexander, Graham Bader, Kate Beckingham, Gwen Bradford, David Caprette, Keith Cooper, Scott Cutler, Erik Dane, Jerry Dickens, Michael Diehl, Claire Fanger, Julie Fette, Jeffrey Fleisher, Charles Geyer, Rachel Kimbro, Marek Kimmel, Michael Kohn, Anatoly Kolomeisky, David Leebron, Jonathan Ludwig, Susan McIntosh, Marie Lynn Miranda, Timothy Morton, Stephan Motowidlo, Luay Nakhleh, Stan Sazykin, Laura Segatori, James Weston, Kerry Ward, and Michael Wolf.
Senators absent: Robert Atherholt, Daniel Cohen, and Christopher Hight.
(To listen to an audio tape of this meeting, email email@example.com .)
I. Call to Order
Speaker James Weston called the meeting to order at 12:05 p.m. He welcomed the assembled senators and guests to the meeting.
• Faculty Senate members 2015-2016:
Architecture: Christopher Hight
Engineering: Keith Cooper, Michael Diehl, Marek Kimmel, Luay Nakhleh, Laura Segatori
Humanities: Graham Bader, Daniel Cohen, Claire Fanger, Julie Fette, Timothy Morton, Kerry Ward
Jones School of Business: Erik Dane, James Weston
Natural Sciences: David Alexander, Kate Beckingham, Gerald Dickens, Michael Kohn, Anatoly Kolomeisky, Michael Wolf
Non-Tenure-Track Teaching Faculty: Dave Caprette, Scott Cutler, Jonathan Ludwig
Non-Tenure-Track Research Faculty: Stan Sazykin
Presidential Appointees: Gwen Bradford (Philosophy), Illya Hicks (CAAM, Sabbatical Fall 2015)
Social Sciences: Jeffrey Fleisher, Rachel Kimbro, Susan McIntosh, Stephan Motowidlo
Shepherd School of Music: Robert Atherholt, Charles Geyer
Ex officio, non-voting members: President Leebron, Provost Miranda
Convener of Appeals and Grievances: Jeffrey Fleisher
Parliamentarian: Graham Bader
• The State of the University Address will be held Thursday, September 24, at 3:00 p.m., in McMurtry Auditorium of Duncan Hall. President Leebron encouraged faculty members to attend the event, which he said would also be streamed on the internet. Leebron introduced Provost Marie Lynn Miranda, whom he said is off to a great start at Rice University.
• Provost Miranda stated that she is happy to be working at Rice, and that she loves the university-wide perspective that she has as provost. She said that she often likes to introduce herself by describing her research and scholarship. Miranda then explained that she was originally a mathematician but was also very interested in environmental issues, especially the social justice dimension of environmental problems. She showed several slides to the Faculty Senate regarding lead exposure in children. She noted that while collecting environmental samples, her research team saw that the children in these homes did not have books to read. Miranda’s team negotiated a discount with publishers, collaborated with Head Start, and was able to provide not only books to the children, including Spanish language books and books written by authors of color, but also information on public libraries in the area. Miranda discussed briefly the most recent survey of Rice faculty members and her general priorities as provost. More information will be provided at the State of the University Address.
• Dr. John Cornwell, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, presented information regarding the reaffirmation of Rice’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC):
Phase I – Submitted Compliance Certificate to Off-Site Committee
(240 pages of narratives covering 95 Principles with 1,600+ supporting PDFs; 518 MB)
Phase II – Produce Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for submission (due Jan 15, 2016)
Phase III – Write Focus Reports for any principles not found in compliance by Off-Site Committee
(due Jan 15, 2016)
Phase IV – Prepare for and Host On-Site Committee (March 8-10, 2016)
Phase V – Complete any follow-up left from On-Site visit (April – June 2016)
Cornwell asked faculty members to reserve the dates of March 8 through March 10, as they may be asked to meet with the SACSCOC committee.
Dr. Stephanie Post, also from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, provided an update regarding Rice's Quality Enhancement Program::
Topic Chosen by Rice – Experiential Research Opportunities
QEP Planning Committee: Representatives from schools and disciplines, existing programs, and SA
Updates to the Faculty Senate: October and November 2015
Draft QEP due December 18, 2015, and final QEP due January 15, 2016
• AJ Foyt Family Professor Emeritus Herb Ward, serving as the faculty chair of Rice’s United Way Campaign for 2015-2016, asked faculty members to donate to United Way. Ward stressed that Rice is important to the city of Houston and that Houston is important to Rice. He said that Board of Trustees chair Bobby Tudor would match all new and increased donations.
• Weston announced that the Graduate Honor Council (GHC) has been appointed and will hold its organizational meeting soon. He said that the group is working with the Dean of Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies and the Research Integrity Office, and it should be able to hear cases by the end of the semester. Per the GHC charge, the committee consists of four faculty members: Duane Windsor (Jones School of Business), Marjorie Corcoran (Physics & Astronomy), Christian Emden (Classical and European Studies), Evan Siemann (BioSciences), and four graduate students: Maria R. Montalvo, Jasmine Richards, William R. Rothwell, and Quazi Rasool.
• The Honor System Task Force has been appointed. This committee includes faculty members, students, administrators, and alumni. The co-chairs of the task force are Alex Byrd (History, Weiss College Master) and Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson. Hutchinson explained that the committee has met once, the plan is to meet every other week, and he said that he would provide updates to the Faculty Senate.
• Jeff Fleisher will serve as the faculty representative for the IDEA pilot program regarding teaching and course evaluations.
• Weston asked for announcements from the floor; there were none.
III. Report of Officers and Standing Committees
Nominations and Elections Committee: Election of Executive Committee
Deputy Speaker Rachel Kimbro, Chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee, presented the Executive Committee (EC) slate:
Engineering: Laura Segatori
Humanities: Graham Bader, Julie Fette
Natural Sciences: Anatoly Kolomeisky
Non-Tenure-Track Faculty: Stan Sazykin
Social Sciences: Rachel Kimbro (Deputy Speaker)
Professional Schools: Christopher Hight, James Weston (Speaker)
Kimbro asked if there were any alternate slates to be presented; there were none. The Senate unanimously approved the slate. Weston described
the role of the Executive Committee, and he said that there were two seats at EC meetings reserved for senators to attend as non-voting guests.
IV. New Business
A. Senate Endorsement for three Executive Committee Actions
1. Working Group on New Courses and Faculty Oversight
Working Group chair Susan McIntosh, who also serves as chair of the University Committee on the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC), said that the CUC has become aware of changes to the overall Rice curriculum, especially the increase in courses offered from outside of departments. She said that
although many of these courses, if not most, offer value to the students, a question worth considering is how they affect courses offered by departments.
Recognizing that oversight of the curriculum and credit-bearing courses rests with faculty, and that recent and ongoing expansion of the curriculum
through the addition of new types of courses and new course delivery formats may strain traditional oversight procedures, the Working Group will:
Chair: Susan McIntosh (Social Sciences, Anthropology Department)
Members: John Casbarian (School of Architecture)
Keith Cooper (Engineering, Computer Science)
James Sidbury (Humanities, History Department)
Melissa Marschall (Social Sciences, Political Science Department)
George Phillips (Natural Sciences, BioSciences Department)
A senator moved to endorse the appointment of the working group, it was seconded, and the Senate voted unanimously for approval.
2. Clarification of voting members on University Committees
Weston explained that faculty, undergraduate and graduate student representatives, and ex officio members on University Committees have voting privileges, unless otherwise indicated in the committee charge. (The ex officio members on the University Committee for Athletics and on the Faculty Senate do not have voting privileges.) Weston said that over the years, members of the administration whose duties are relevant to the work of a committee have been asked by the Senate to serve as ex officio members in order to provide information and advice. He said that the EC has changed the title for most of these administrators to “non-voting liaison.” There were no objections to this action taken by the EC.
3. Department of Religion
Weston said that the Department of Religious Studies changed its name over the summer to the Department of Religion and sought approval from the EC. There were no objections to this action taken by the EC.
B. Approval of Academic Calendar 2017-2018
Registrar David Tenney presented the proposed academic calendar for the 2017-2018 year, which he said was made following the formula approved by the Senate several years ago. He noted that, as approved by the Senate in March 2015, Rice’s one-week Spring Break would now occur later in March with the goal of aligning it with the Spring Break of the Houston Independent School District.
The Senate also approved in March 2015 the formation of a task force to consider a two-week Spring Break, as suggested by President Leebron. Leebron reported that there had not been enough progress in the forming of a task force over the summer, and that although there was still a lot of support for a two-week break, a proposal was not ready to present to the Faculty Senate. He said that he would come back to the Senate later in the year with more information.
The Senate approved the proposed 2017-2018 academic calendar, which can be viewed HERE.
C. New Agenda Item Requests
Weston asked the senators for issues that they would like the Senate to address this year.
President Leebron discussed the recent law passed by the Texas Legislature (effective August 2016) regarding the carrying of concealed weapons on university campuses. He said that the law contains an opt-out feature for private institutions, provided that the institutions consult with faculty and students. He said that the administration would consult with the Rice community over the next six months.
A second legislative item that Leebron mentioned was that effective September 1, 2015, the files of private university police forces are subject to the Texas Public Information Act, also called the Open Records Act.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:25 p.m.